Thursday, October 13, 2011

More on Epigenetics: How Your Life in the Womb Becomes the Story of Your Life

You know when you see fat people they look like they were always fat, like it was inherited from fat mothers and fathers. Well you might be right…….half right. And it is true that those in school who were fat still seem fatter twenty years later. So why is that? Well a new study out helps explain it. That plus what I have written in Life Before Birth will give us a good idea what that is all about.

The study (“Epigenetic Gene Promoter methylation at birth is associated with Child’s Later Adiposity’ (fat) Godfrey, K.M. et al. Diabetes, May 2011) What it states is that a mother’s intake of food during pregnancy produces epigenetic marks on genes producing a tendency to be fat at age nine and after. Now as I have written before, that epigenetic mark resulting from changes in the methyl is called methylation and is, in my terms, what produces the imprint. It was changed by mother’s fat and her nutrient intake while carrying; increased fat mass along with low carbohydrate levels. This may cause hyper-methylation and a tendency for heaviness in the child. Because the child first learns the most important lesson of her life; what kind of world to expect and what kind and how much she should eat. Her dietary regime is being formed. If it is saying, “you don’t have enough and you need to eat more” then that is the lifelong message. It is not heredity, although it may look like it because the mother is also fat. The big difference was the body fat index.

The link, they say, between mother’s intake and the child’s later tendency to be heavy after a few years is pretty convincing. The uterine environment and the human adult phenotype (how fat she looks) is unmistakeable, as they did the experiment with another group and found the same thing. What it shows is that experience during womb-life will track us throughout lives, and as I show in the book will cause serious disease, including cancer and Alzheimers Disease, in my opinion, and any number of personality disorders. It is the most crucial time of our lives when there is the most rapid growth of brain cells and organ systems. It is here when critical set-points for all kinds of systems and biochemicals are being set down. So there can be deficiencies in thyroid hormone, for example, or not enough serotonin in help keep pain at bay and make us comfortable throughout life. Here is where personality is beginning to be formed and here is where we begin to have weight problems (age nine) for the rest of our lives. Here is where we need to pay the most attention to our babies. If we are not calm and are fighting with our husband there is a greater chance of homosexuality in the offspring. It is not a time to be taken lightly; a new life is being formed.



    Poverty During Early Childhood May Last a Lifetime
    Children raised in poverty in their first five years are more likely to feel its effects well into adulthood.
    By Jessica Marshall
    Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:29 PM ET
    • Poverty during early childhood is correlated with lower adult income.
    • Childhood poverty causes lasting effects on the brain and on the way DNA is expressed.
    • Because early childhood is so important, researchers advise policies to address these problems should focus on the youngest children.


    It's no surprise that growing up in poverty makes it more likely you'll be poorer as an adult.
    But new research shows that the earliest years of life are the most critical in determining future earnings. Even more strikingly, a growing body of research shows that childhood poverty causes lasting changes in the brain -- from its overall structure down to the level of gene expression.
    These findings highlight the importance of programs that specifically address the needs of the youngest children, the researchers say.
    "Early experiences are built into our bodies, for better or worse," said Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., speaking at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego on Sunday.
    "If you begin with the experience of adversity and stress, those get translated into changes in brain function and structure that get translated into changes in cellular and neuronal connections, and most recently, down into lasting changes in how the DNA is expressed," said Thomas Boyce of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who has carried out several studies that show these effects.
    Poor children perform worse in many ways, said Katherine Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from standardized tests to amount of schooling to behavior and health. "We've known this for a long time. What is interesting and emergent is our ability to talk about these as being caused by income per se rather than the range of things that are associated with poverty," Magnuson said.

  2. An email comment:
    "Dear Dr. Janov,

    could you please write about self primaling in your blog? I have met some people who know PT very well because they have read your books and articles. But they do not have the necessary possibilities (most often money) to come to the Primal Center - at least not in the near future. (As I was informed by your Primal Center there are no Primal Therapists in Germany or Austria you could recommend.)
    But those people said that they experienced great relief by laying down and letting them fall into the up-coming feelings, all alone. Some of them are convinced that they even resolved all of their childhood trauma by reliving it alone.
    So can we really reach down to second and even first line when primaling alone? Is our system capable of really letting go and losing control without the guidance and protection a professional Primal Therapist can offer? Is there always the danger of abreaction instead of a real primal? I myself have tried to let feelings come and I, too, think that sometimes I am getting deep and reliving… But what do you think about it? Is it a delusion? Is it much too dangerous and nothing but a mock primal? Or is it better to try and do it alone instead of doing nothing?

    Perhaps there are more people who are interested in this problem.
    Thank you."

  3. And my answer:
    I will writ e about it soon but it is usually a bad idea to primal alone. Yes you can let feelings up but to try to primal time after time alone usually leads to abreaction. art But do not think I will be there forever.

  4. Hi,

    -"Yes you can let feelings up but to try to primal time after time alone usually leads to abreaction"-.

    I can confirm that without specialist help the above is true.

    Nevertheless I don't stop, I can't stop what is coming up for me now and has been for more than a year. Some of that is definitely not ab-reaction. Some say to me (and I ask myself as well) that now the process has started what point is there in going to the clinic? Well I tell you all, any of you people out there if you've got stuff coming up like me and it doesn't stop. . . .

    Specialist direction. I need, we need specialist direction, then we need a buddying scheme with others in process.

    I think it doesn't matter if we can't 'perform' very well in-front of others, particularly in-front of some-one with so much authority as a primal therapist. . . . I was programmed not to cry when being delivered to my boarding school. I was programmed to put on 'A BRAVE FACE'.

    What matters is the attempt to connect with Primal and the ongoing support and methodology available only from the Clinic.
    This matters because it is a lifes' work. It's not a quick fix and it is so essential.

    Paul G.


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.